From 1958 to 1972, the Department of Defense deployed a contingent of surface-to-air missiles intended to shoot down any incoming nuclear missiles aimed at United States cities.
This program, known as Project Nike, was the first operational American anti-aircraft system. The missiles were decommissioned in 1974 as the Cold War came to an end, but remnants remain all around the country to this day. A few, such as site C-44 in southeastern Chicago can still be visited.
Nike missile site C-44 was part of the Chicago-Gary Defense Area, which included about 20 bases around the Chicagoland area. Other bases were located at Fort Sheridan, Porter, Indiana, even in the middle of Jackson Park.
Know Before You Go
To reach the site, drive to William W. Powers State Recreation Area in southeast Chicago. Next, turn left on Wolf Lake Drive and follow it all the way back to where the road forks. The road to the site is down the road to the left.
You can either park on the side of the road here, or you can continue down to the right and park in the parking lot, then walk back to the split and continue.